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General => Armed Forces => World War Two => Topic started by: Miggy8 on Friday 13 May 22 08:20 BST (UK)

Title: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: Miggy8 on Friday 13 May 22 08:20 BST (UK)
I am just trying to work out information about my late Granddad Eric Newall who was in the RAF during World War II. I never got to meet him because my parent emigrated to NZ and he had passed once I was old enough to travel alone.

His war medals and records were lost during my parents divorce and now I have a son I would really love to find out more information. He never talked about his time serving and everyone who did know about it has passed too.

I have managed to order his service records (attached) but am having huge issues trying to decipher them and read the writing. Any help or direction would be so appreciated!
Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: Kiltaglassan on Friday 13 May 22 18:11 BST (UK)

Welcome to RootsChat  :)

Which parts of your two records have you been unable to decipher?

Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: Miggy8 on Saturday 14 May 22 01:40 BST (UK)
We initially wanted to find out if the records specified or if there was any way to work out which medals he would've had.

But after reviewing the records, we have found out more information we didn't know and are just wanting to see if the records (or general knowledge of service) can provide any more details on-

The gap in his service (from 31.8.44-13.12.45) and if there is anything we can find out about that from the records.

He would never confirm that he was a pilot, but from what I can see he initially was and then went back as an aircraftman, if there is any information that relates to that or his service as a pilot, or why his role may have changed.

We know he was stationed in South Africa after he reenlisted also, but if the records give any information on his movements or location during either of his terms of service.

Thank you so much!
Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: IMBER on Sunday 15 May 22 18:56 BST (UK)
Not sure whether you need help with the abbreviations but just in case:

ACSB Air Crew Candidate Selection Board
ACRC Air Crew Reception Centre
ITW Initial Training Wing
ACDC Air Crew Despatch Centre
HE Home Embarkation
CRC Combined Recruiting Centre (there were quite a few of these)
MAFD Mobile Air Force Depot - In Pretoria where air crew could be stationed on standby prior to being posted to a more active squadron.
3RC Recruit Centre, Padgate
61MU - Sited at RAF Handworth, Wilmslow. A Universal Stores Depot containing just about any equipment the RAF used from knives and forks upward.
!01 PDC. Personnel Despatch Centre, Kirkham
Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: rafcommands on Thursday 26 May 22 08:49 BST (UK)
The gap is because he was no longer in the RAF - he had been discharged as "Services no longer required".

The training machine for RAF aircrew was too efficient by mid/late 1944 and was creating more aircrew that required to cover losses. (On the worst single night for Bomber Command (Nov 1944) the squadron aircrew losses were replaced within 3 days. On this single night Bomber Command lost more men than Fighter Command lost in the whole 3 months of the Battle of Britain.

Other services, mostly army, were disbanding units because the did not have the reserve manpower to cover losses and this led to transfers eg powered pilots became glider pilots. The terms of enlistment limited tradesmen only being employed in that trade and if suitable employment to available they were given the choice to re-enlist in a different trade or be discharged. Your man (employed as Pilot but never completed training) initially went for discharge but later changed his mind and re-enlisted as General Duties (eg non flying).

You can see signs of the bottleneck for training places in how long he spent on reserve between ACSB and ACRC ( almost a year - typically entry to qualified pilot took 1 year training following that)

Enquire to the UK Medals office on his entitlement and as if they were issued.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-guide-to-ministry-of-defence-medal-office

Ross
Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: Miggy8 on Thursday 26 May 22 09:10 BST (UK)
Wow, that is so interesting! Thank you so much for this information, I whole heartedly appreciate it.
Title: Re: My late Granddad Eric Newall RAF- Help deciphering information
Post by: rafcommands on Thursday 26 May 22 09:27 BST (UK)
My pleasure to help.

The Form 543 was really only a handy reference sheet for the clerks in RAF Records to be able to pull relevant files from elsewhere in the registry.

Most documents have been destroyed but the Operations Record Books survive in TNA and in particular the SA Air School daily diaries in AIR54 have been digitised for free down load

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_dss=range&_ro=any&_q=24+AND+air+AND+school

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_dss=range&_ro=any&_q=75+AND+air+AND+school

They were not written at the time with the intent to provide for easy reading by interested parties outside the South African Airforce but they do provide a daily account of the activity and events your relative would have been part of.

You may be lucky and the course participants may be names but this detail was variable depending on the ORB scribe at the time.

Down load for the period (end 1943 start 1944) and have a read.

Ross